First Hundred Miles

Discover Holiday Magic® Along Route 66 At The Brookfield Zoo

Over 2 million holiday lights, located just off of The First Hundred Miles

Brookfield Zoo holiday lights

The First Hundred Miles of Route 66 are home to many world-class attractions, but few are more widely known and beloved than the Chicago Zoological Society’s Brookfield Zoo. Located only 15 miles west of Chicago, just a short jog from historic Route 66, the 200-acre zoo is broadly regarded as one of the best in the nation. Now, with the return of the Brookfield Zoo’s popular Holiday Magic® lighted display, presented by ComEd and Meijer, there’s no better time to take a winter trip to the zoo.

The larger-than-life lighted displays will be illuminated for crowds November 25-27 and 30, and December 1-4, 7-11, 14-18 and 26-31. Holiday Magic® will run from 3 to 9 p.m. for each of the dates, and the zoo will not be open to the public prior to 3 p.m. on those special event days.

Brookfield Zoo holiday lights

Holiday Magic® features over two million twinkling LED lights creating an evening filled with shining moments. The “Sea of Lights” returns with a new exciting design featuring two miles of colorful, sparkling lights synchronized to music, on the zoo’s entire West Mall. The transformation into a magical creation of moving lights will immerse guests in the holiday spirit as will the adjacent 600-foot-long “Tunnel of Lights,” presented by Xfinity, that zoogoers can walk through.

Brookfield Zoo’s 41-foot-tall tree lit with brilliantly colored LED lights and choreographed to seasonal tunes will greet guests as they enter the north entrance. Strolling along the zoo’s malls and around Roosevelt Fountain, guests also can view 750 community and 70 corporate lit trees decorated with ornaments.

Holiday Magic® is the perfect opportunity for taking dazzling family snapshots. Remember your visit with a picture inside a luminous 20-foot-tall orb aglow with thousands of sparkling LED lights or next to a 16-foot-tall 3D gingerbread house, a holiday-themed festive frame, and even a Santa Claus cutout. Larger-than-life illuminated animal sculptures, including a giraffe, bison, bear, and reindeer, add to the ambiance throughout the park.

Brookfield Zoo holiday lights

Guests of all ages are invited to embark on a fun-filled scavenger hunt in search of 27 sneaky gnomes in this year’s Game of Gnomes. Each gnome measures between 12 to 20 inches high and are hidden around the zoo’s grounds.

Best of all, you’ll still get to see some of your favorite animals in the park! Several indoor and outdoor animal habitats are open during Holiday Magic, including Tropic World (South America and Asia sections only), Pachyderm House, Big Cats, Swamp, Feathers and Scales, Reptiles and Birds, Living Coast, Hamill Family Wild Encounters (reindeer and goats only), Great Bear Wilderness, Australia House (access to front section only), and Hamill Family Play Zoo. All indoor animal buildings close at 8:30 p.m., with the exception of Tropic World and Hamill Family Play Zoo, which close at 8 p.m.

Kids can deposit their written holiday greetings and drawings for the animals in a designated box, as well as drop off letters to Santa Claus in a giant red box, both located on the zoo’s South Mall.

Brookfield Zoo holiday lights

The fun doesn’t stop at holiday lights—guests can take a spin on the skating rink, located on the East Mall. Open on Holiday Magic dates only, the rink is made of synthetic plastic known as Glice®—a material composed of heat-pressed layers of polymers—so no water or electricity is required for operation. The cost for unlimited time for all skaters on the rink is $7. A limited number of skates are available to rent for a $5 fee. Skaters are welcome to bring their own skates.

Stop by the zoo’s shops for unique holiday gifts to share the cheer. The zoo’s restaurants and food stands will also offer holiday-themed food and drinks for purchase.

For more information on Holiday Magic, and to start planning your trip to Brookfield Zoo, be sure to visit